Safety experts want to see more police on UAE roads

DUBAI // A greater police presence on motorways and the placing of traffic cameras prominently to monitor motorists can help reduce the number of fatal road accidents, experts have said. Phil Clarke, principal road safety consultant at UK consultancy Transport Research Laboratory UAE, said safety campaigns alone, regardless of how hard-hitting, are only of limited […]

DUBAI // A greater police presence on motorways and the placing of traffic cameras prominently to monitor motorists can help reduce the number of fatal road accidents, experts have said.

Phil Clarke, principal road safety consultant at UK consultancy Transport Research Laboratory UAE, said safety campaigns alone, regardless of how hard-hitting, are only of limited value when it comes to improving people’s driving habits.

“It needs to be supported by something else such as focused and targeted enforcement. At the same time you’ve got the other element that the authorities are responsible for which is road engineering,” he said.

“What you need is to have joint campaigns between the police and Roads and Transport Authority.”

According to the latest Dubai Police statistics, 112 people were killed in traffic accidents on Dubai’s roads in the first six months of this year – a 45 per cent increase from the same period last year.

The number of traffic incidents decreased from 1,526 last year to 1,037 this year.

“If you are getting fewer accidents but your fatality or serious injury rating is climbing, what that tends to suggest is that you may have a situation with multiple casualties,” said Mr Clarke, citing the recent minibus accident on Emirates Road in which seven people were killed.

On Monday morning, two Asian lorry drivers had to be cut from their vehicles after a collision in Al Raafah in Umm Al Quwain.

Teams from UAQ Civil Defence used specialist cutting and rescue equipment to remove the men who suffered moderate injuries. They were taken by ambulance to Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital.

It is important that people are able to recognise clearly and simply what road safety campaigns are trying to achieve.

“They need to be simple, if it’s about wearing seat belts it needs to be [just that]. If it’s about tailgating, it needs to be clearly about tailgating,” said Mr Clarke. “Dubai Police and the RTA are working hard to improve safety, but I think what’s needed is a lot more partnership working.”

Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said many residents believe poor driving on the roads is a result of the coming together of different backgrounds and attitudes towards other road users.

“Often it seems we are driving ‘against’ each other and not ‘with’ each other,” he said. “We observe rude behaviour such as bullying of motorists pretty much every time we are behind the wheel.”

He said the ‘enforcement’ of road safety played a vital role, along with ‘education’ through awareness campaigns.

“It is not so much about the level of fines, it is more about producing the perception among motorists that our behaviour is constantly monitored by police,” he said. More police and civil patrol car presence and more portable radars to introduce the element of ‘surprise’ could contribute to the decrease in number of road deaths, he said.

A spokesperson from the Emirates Driving Institute said tougher penalties were an important measure to regulate people’s actions when behind the wheel.

“More intensive road inspection, surveillance and patrolling can bring control to recklessness,” she said. “Those who are committing crimes must be punished as well as forced to attend rehabilitation courses, driving skills refreshment and psychological counselling.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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